Wolf News March 22

Principal's Message

Dear Parents,

I write to you today as a mom and I’m going to keep this real. How was your past week? I tried to nail it. I tried to be the best mom, teacher, principal, daughter, sister and wife. I didn’t feel successful at anything. While I was at home all day, every day, I felt time moved too quickly to fulfill all these roles. I was cracking the whip to get in two-three hours of homeschool for my second grader every morning and then spending the afternoons getting caught up on work email and virtual conferences. I didn’t check in with my parents who live a state away as much as I should have. I didn’t have dinner waiting for my husband after his 10-hour days and I felt the pressure to communicate with my Oak Hill families and staff at a time when it was hard to find the right words. I have extended family in Italy right now and a brother in PA who is self-employed and having to close his business. I miss my Oak Hill students and families, my staff who inspire me and hugging my own parents at a time when I just need to feel their squeeze and reassuring words that I have learned to trust and depend on for 49 years.

I share this with you because I wonder how many of you might be going through something, feeling like you didn’t “nail it” last week. I realized this weekend that my expectations were too high in every area of my life. Life is different right now and we can’t keep going with the same plan, the same schedule, the same attitude.   I know the tug you feel with homeschooling your children. I feel the exact same thing and I have a child who is still struggling to read. But I ignored his, “mom, can you play trucks with me” far too many times last week. This week will be different. He will not remember the two-three hours of homeschooling, but he will remember our talks while we play. I know this to be true.

The last two summers while driving from MD to VA for summer camps, we talked about roads, electric lines and the bridge over the Potomac River. And of course, that led to taxes and how our government pays for things which led to salaries, savings accounts, the value of money and how my parents are retired and on a strict budget. We discussed insurance (every type!) and how that can protect us. Recently on a doctor visit Cooper looked at the receptionist when I paid the co-pay and asked, “How much are you going to charge insurance?!”   When my parents purchased a new camper last year he said, “Mema and Papa, how did you afford that if you are on a budget?!” 😊

So, my best advice to you today as a mom and principal is to not get overly excited about doing this teaching thing exactly right. Find opportunities to teach through your daily interactions, when you are driving, cooking, planting, fixing, organizing etc… Those are our real Problem Based Learning opportunities (PBL’s), rich and authentic learning that you CAN teach. The gazillion websites that I see being passed along are too much at times to take in. We have amazing, highly educated staff in FCPS and daily, they are working on the “what next.” They are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and sons and daughters. There is no play book for this work. Please be supportive as this is not a time to be critical of those on the front line.

I want to thank all of you who are essential personnel and working tirelessly for the communities in which you serve. I hope this next week brings you strength, giggles, positivity and hope. Let your child(ren) know that the Oak Hill staff is thinking about them and hoping we can see each other soon. If you are looking for an art project, consider painting a rock of hope and depositing it in the Kindness Rocks garden at Oak Hill. Send me a picture! hedevore@fcps.edu


Holly DeVore, Principal